524: Acceptable Electronic Resources Use

Note: School districts are required by statute to have a policy addressing these issues.

I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to set forth policies and guidelines for access to the School District’s computers, computer systems, internal network, email and communication systems, servers, Internet, and Internet technologies for safe and acceptable use, hereafter referred to as electronic resources or School District system.

II. GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

In making decisions regarding student and employee access to the School District’s electronic resources the School District considers its own stated educational mission, goals, and objectives. Electronic information research skills are fundamental to preparation of citizens and future employees. The School District expects the faculty will integrate use of educational technologies throughout the curriculum and will provide guidance and instruction to students in their use.

III. LIMITED EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE

The School District is providing students and employees with access to School District electronic resources. The purpose of the system is more specific than providing students and employees with general access to the electronic resources. The School District system has a limited educational purpose, which includes use of the system for classroom activities, communication, educational research, and professional or career development activities. Users are expected to use electronic resources to further educational and personal goals consistent with the mission of the School District and school policies. Uses which might be acceptable on a user’s private personal account on another system may not be acceptable on this limited-purpose network.

IV. USE OF ELECTRONIC RESOURCES

The use of the School District system and access to use of the electronic resources is a privilege, not a right. Depending on the nature and degree of the violation and the number of previous violations, unacceptable use of the School District system or the Internet may result in one or more of the following consequences: suspension or cancellation of use or access privileges; payments for damages and repairs; discipline under other appropriate School District policies, including suspension, expulsion, exclusion or termination of employment; or civil or criminal liability under other applicable laws.

V. UNACCEPTABLE USES

A. The following uses of the School District’s electronic resources are considered unacceptable:

1. Users will not use the School District system to access, create, review, upload, download, store, print, post, receive, transmit or distribute:

a. pornographic, obscene or sexually explicit material or other visual depictions that are harmful to minors;

b. obscene, abusive, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, disrespectful, or sexually explicit language;

c. materials that use language or images that are inappropriate in the education setting or disruptive to the educational process;

d. information or materials that could cause damage or danger of disruption to the educational process;

e. materials that use language or images that advocate violence or discrimination toward other people (hate literature) or that may constitute harassment or discrimination.

2. Users will not use the School District system to knowingly or recklessly post, transmit or distribute false or defamatory information about a person or organization, or to harass another person, or to engage in personal attacks, including prejudicial or discriminatory attacks. Use of humor that denigrates, demeans, or demoralizes is unacceptable. Users should communicate with the knowledge that it is the recipient of the humor that determines if the humor is derogatory or offensive.

3. Users will not use the School District system to engage in any illegal act or violate any local, state or federal statute or law.

4. Users will not use the School District system to vandalize, damage or disable the property of another person or organization, will not make deliberate attempts to degrade or disrupt equipment, software or system performance by spreading computer viruses or by any other means, will not tamper with, modify or change the School District system software, hardware or wiring or take any action to violate the School Districts security system, and will not use the School District system in such a way as to disrupt the use of the system by other users.

5. Users will not use the School District system to gain unauthorized access to information resources or to access another person’s materials, information or files without the implied or direct permission of that person.

6. Users will not use the School District system to post private information about another person, personal contact information about themselves or other persons, or other personally identifiable information, including, but not limited to, addresses, telephone numbers, school addresses, work addresses, identification numbers, account numbers, access codes or passwords, labeled photographs or other information that would make the individual’s identity easily traceable, and will not repost a message that was sent to the user privately without permission of the person who sent the original message.

a. This paragraph does not prohibit the posting of employee contact information on school district web pages or communications between employees and other individuals when such communications are made for education-related purposes (i.e., communications with parents or other staff members related to students).

b. Employees creating or posting school-related web pages may include personal contact information about themselves on a webpage. However, employees may not post personal contact information or other personally identifiable information about students unless:

(1) such information is classified by the school district as directory information, and verification is made that the school district has not received notice from a parent/guardian or eligible student that such information is not to be designated as directory information in accordance with Policy 515; or

(2) such information is not classified by the school district as directory information but written consent for release of the information to be posted has been obtained from a parent/guardian or eligible student in accordance with Policy 515. In addition, prior to posting any personal contact or personally identifiable information on a school-related webpage, employees shall obtain written approval of the content of the postings from the building administrator.

c. These prohibitions specifically prohibit a user from utilizing the school district system to post personal information about a user or another individual on social networks, including, but not limited to, social networks such as “MySpace” and “Facebook.”

7. Users will not attempt to gain unauthorized access to the School District system or any other system, access codes or network identification other than those assigned to the user. In addition, messages and records on the School District system may not be encrypted without the permission of appropriate school authorities.

8. Users will not use the School District system to violate copyright laws or usage licensing agreements, or otherwise to use another person’s property without the person’s prior approval or proper citation, including the downloading or exchanging of pirated software or copying software to or from any school computer, and will not plagiarize works they find on the Internet.

9. Users will not use the School District system for commercial purposes or for financial gain unrelated to the mission of the School District. Users will not use the School District system to offer or provide goods or services or for product advertisement. Users will not use the School District system to purchase goods or services for personal use without authorization from the appropriate School District official.

10. Users will not use the School District system to engage in bullying or cyber bullying in violation of the School District’s Bullying Prohibition Policy. This prohibition includes using any technology or other electronic communication off school premises to the extent that student learning or the school environment is substantially and materially disrupted.

B. A student or employee engaging in any of the foregoing unacceptable uses of electronic resources when off School District premises and without the use of the School District system also may be in violation of this Policy as well as other School District Policies. In situations when the School District receives a report of an unacceptable use originating from a non-school computer or resource, the School District shall investigate such reports to the best of its ability. Students or employees may be subject to disciplinary action for such conduct including, but not limited to, suspension or cancellation of the use or access to the School District electronic resources and the Internet and discipline under other appropriate School District Policies, including suspension, expulsion, exclusion, or termination of employment.

C. If a user inadvertently accesses unacceptable materials or an unacceptable Internet site, the user shall immediately disclose the inadvertent access to an appropriate School District official. In the case of a School District employee, the immediate disclosure shall be to the employee’s immediate supervisor and/or the building administrator. This disclosure may serve as a defense against an allegation that the user has intentionally violated this policy. In certain rare instances, a user also may access otherwise unacceptable materials if necessary to complete an assignment and if done with the prior approval of and with appropriate guidance from the appropriate teacher or, in the case of a School District employee, the building administrator.

VI. SOCIAL MEDIA

The School Board recognizes the unique characteristics of online social media and/or networks. When social media are used in the classroom or for related school activities, teachers or the responsible District staff member(s) must ensure compliance with applicable terms of the media site and adhere to all relevant District policies and procedures.

Users should be aware that the unacceptable uses outlined in this policy as well as behavioral expectations identified in Hopkins School District policies apply to schoolrelated social media use.

To ensure that there are student curriculum materials and structured learning experiences that address proper social media use and general internet safety, the Director of Technology and Information Services will work with media specialists and other staff members to create, modify, and continually review appropriate curriculum materials and learning experiences.

To assist employees with social media use and expectations, guidelines for employee use of online social media will be formulated from the Technology and Information Services department and attached to this policy as regulations.

VII. FILTER

A. With respect to any of its electronic resources, the School District will monitor the online activities of both minors and adults and employ technology protection measures during any use of such computers by minors and adults. The technology protection measures utilized will block or filter Internet access to any visual and verbal depictions that are:

1. Obscene; 

2. Child pornography; or

3. Harmful to minors

4. Outside the limited educational purpose including, but not limited to, file sharing, social networking, gambling, weapons, and gaming.

B. The term “harmful to minors” means any file, or other depiction that:

1. Taken as a whole and with respect to minors, appeals to a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; or

2. Depicts, describes, or represents, in a patently offensive way with respect to what is suitable for minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual acts, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals; and

3. Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value as to minors.

C. Software filtering technology shall be narrowly tailored and shall not discriminate based on viewpoint.

D. An administrator, supervisor or other person authorized by the superintendent may disable the technology protection measure, during use by an adult, to enable access for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

E. The School District will educate students about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response.

VIII. CONSISTENCY WITH OTHER SCHOOL POLICIES

Use of School District electronic resources shall be consistent with School District Policies and the mission of the School District.

IX. LIMITED EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY

A. By authorizing use of the School District electronic resources, the School District does not relinquish control over materials on the system or contained in files on the system. Users should expect only limited privacy in the contents of personal files on the School District system.

B. Routine maintenance and monitoring of the School District system may lead to a discovery that a user has violated this Policy, another School District Policy, or the law.

C. An individual investigation or search will be conducted if school authorities have a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover a violation of law or School District Policy.

D. Parents have the right at any time to investigate or review the contents of their child’s files and e-mail files. Parents have the right to request the termination of their child’s individual account at any time.

E. School District employees should be aware that the School District retains the right at any time to investigate or review the contents of their files and e-mail files. In addition, School District employees should be aware that data and other materials in files maintained on the School District system may be subject to review, disclosure or discovery.

F. The School District will cooperate fully with local, state and federal authorities in any investigation concerning or related to any illegal activities or activities not in compliance with School District Policies conducted through the School District system.

G. The confidentiality of electronic communications cannot be guaranteed. Electronic communication is appropriate for quick and uncomplicated messages where confidentiality is not a critical factor.

X. LIMITATION ON SCHOOL DISTRICT LIABILITY

Use of the School District’s electronic resources is at the user’s own risk. The system is provided on an "as is, as available" basis. The School District will not be responsible for any damage users may suffer, including, but not limited to, loss, damage or unavailability of data stored on School District media devices or servers, or for delays or changes in or interruptions of service or misdeliveries or nondeliveries of information or materials, regardless of the cause. The School District is not responsible for the accuracy or quality of any advice or information obtained through or stored on the School District system. The School District will not be responsible for financial obligations arising through unauthorized use of the School District’s electronic resources.

XI. USER NOTIFICATION

A. All users shall be notified of the School District policies relating to electronic resources.

B. This notification shall include the following:

1. Notification that electronic resource use is subject to compliance with School District policies.

2. Disclaimers limiting the School District’s liability relative to:

a. Information stored on School District media devices or servers.

b. Information retrieved through School District computers, networks or online resources.

c. Personal property used to access School District computers, networks or online resources. d. Unauthorized financial obligations resulting from use of School District resources/accounts to access the electronic resources.

3. A description of the privacy rights and limitations of school sponsored/ managed electronic resources.

4. Notification that, even though the School District may use technical means to limit electronic resources access, these limits do not provide a foolproof means for enforcing the provisions of this acceptable use policy.

5. Notification that goods and services can be purchased through electronic resources and that could potentially result in unwanted financial obligations and that any financial obligation incurred by a user through the electronic resources is the sole responsibility of the user or, in the case of a student, the student’s parents.

6. Notification that the collection, creation, reception, maintenance and dissemination of data via the electronic resources, including electronic communications, is governed by Public and Private Personnel Data, and policy on the Protection and Privacy of Pupil Records.

7. Notification that, should the user violate the School District’s Acceptable Use Policy, the user’s access privileges may be revoked, school disciplinary action may be taken and/or appropriate legal action may be taken.

8. Notification that all provisions of the Acceptable Use Policy are subordinate to local, state and federal laws.

XII. PARENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY; NOTIFICATION OF STUDENT INTERNET USE

A. The proper use of the electronic resources and the educational value to be gained from proper electronic resource use, is the joint responsibility of students, parents and employees of the School District.

B. Outside of school, parents bear responsibility for the same guidance of electronic resource use as they exercise with information sources such as television, telephones, radio, movies and other possibly offensive media. Parents are responsible for monitoring their student’s use of the School District system and of the Internet if the student is accessing the School District system from home or a remote location.

XIII. IMPLEMENTATION; POLICY REVIEW

A. The school district administration will develop appropriate user notification forms, guidelines and procedures necessary to implement this policy.

B. The administration shall revise the user notifications, including student and parent notifications, if necessary, to reflect the adoption of these guidelines and procedures.

C. The school district electronic resources policies and procedures are available for review by all parents, guardians, staff and members of the community.

D. Because of the rapid changes in the development of the Internet, the School Board shall conduct an annual review of this policy.

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Adopted: March 3, 2005
Revised: November 1, 2007, April 23, 2009, December 15, 2011, March 15, 2012, September 18, 2014, September 17, 2015
Reviewed: January 24, 2013, September 22, 2016, September 19, 2017, October 23, 2018, September 3, 2019


REGULATIONS: EMPLOYEE USE OF ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA

1. GENERAL STATEMENT

The Hopkins School District recognizes the value and increasing role of online social media. The purpose of this regulation is to provide guidance to employees related to professional ethics and boundaries when utilizing social media.

2. Definitions

a. Public online social media are defined to include: Websites, Web logs (blogs), wikis, social networks, online forums, virtual worlds, and any other interactive social media generally available to the public on the Internet.

b. District-approved, password-protected online social media are interactive media within the District’s electronic network or which the District has approved for educational use (e.g. MOODLE, Google Apps. etc…). The District has greater authority and responsibility to protect minors from inappropriate content and can limit public access within this forum.

3. Classroom Use of Online Social Media

Teachers may elect to utilize District-approved, password-protected online social media in the classroom for purposes of instruction. Teachers may also elect to use public online social media in the classroom for purposes of instruction. Use of online social media in the classroom is subject to the following:

a. When using either type of online social media in the classroom, teachers shall instruct students on the appropriate use of such site.

b. Teacher should use caution that private student data and work, including photographic images, is not made public on public online social media sites without written permission. 

c. When utilizing either type of online social media in the classroom, teachers shall ensure compliance with any applicable terms of the online social media site.

4. Personal Use of Public Online Social Media By Employees

The decision to make personal use of public online social media is left to the discretion of each employee. Hopkins Public Schools does not affirmatively monitor employee use of public online social media; however, it may take appropriate responsive action when it becomes aware of, or suspects, conduct or communication on a public online social media site that adversely affects the workplace or violates applicable professional code of ethics.

Employees will be held responsible for their disclosure, whether purposeful or inadvertent, of confidential or private information, information that violates the privacy rights or other rights of a third party, or for the content of any work-related information communicated by the employee on any online social media site. An employee who fails to comply with the guidance set forth in this regulation may be subject to disciplinary and other consequences, up to and including termination, subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements. For that reason, employees shall observe the following when using public online social media:

a. Employees must consider their role as school personnel before posting or communication content that is obscene, profane, vulgar, harassing, threatening, bullying, libelous, or defamatory or that discusses or encourages any illegal activity or the inappropriate use of alcohol, use of illegal drugs, sexual behavior or sexual harassment.

b. View expressed on a public online social media sit are the employee’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hopkins Public Schools. Employees may not act as a spokesperson for the District or post comments as a representative of the District, except as authorized by the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee.

c. Employees may not disclose information on any public online social media site that is private, confidential or proprietary to Hopkins Public Schools, its students, or employees or that is protected by data privacy laws or Hopkins’ Policy 515, Protection and Privacy of Student Records.

d. Employees may not use or post the Hopkins Public Schools or a school logo on any public online social media site without permission from the superintendent, the school principal, or designee.

e. Hopkins Public Schools recognizes that student groups or members of the public may create public online social media representing students or groups within the district. When employees, including coaches/activities advisors, choose to join or engage with these social networking groups, they do so as an employee of the district.

f. Employees have responsibility for maintaining appropriate employee-student relationships at all time. This includes using professional judgment when necessary for the safety of students online and responding appropriately as a mandated reporter when applicable. (Please see Policy 414 for further reference).

5. Official School or District Public Online Social Media Sites

Hopkins Public Schools and individual schools and departments may choose to establish an official presence on public online social media sites with prior administrative approval. When such a presence is established, an employee shall be designated as the website manager and log-in credentials must be share with the website manager’s supervisor and the District’s Director of Technology and Information Services. The website manager is responsible for keeping the website updated and monitoring the content of the website.